Archive for April, 2012

April 28, 2012

A really good dessert quote

“Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart.” – Erma Bombeck

I read this off a blog I was following. Brilliant is it not?

It does make me throw caution into the wind and grab an ice cream as well as a chocolate bar! Will always remember this quote whenever I feel lousy about not being able to have desserts.

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April 28, 2012

Sponge Cake Mix

I could not resist buying this cake mix at Phoon Huat. The cake tasted really soft and delicious; though it really did not taste like a sponge cake entirely.

It was a really simple recipe! Made a double portion of the cake for church and had some batter left over and I made some mini sponge cakes; turns out it tasted like Kueh balu! Anyhow; it is really a nice cake to have for a simple teatime dessert.

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April 28, 2012

Minis are the best

I love things in mini forms. Mini cupcakes, mini oreos, mini M&Ms, mini marshmallows and basically all types of mini sweets!

Jerome said why not bake mini scones; it will be much easier to pop it into one’s mouth without having the crumbs falling all over the place. I had some left over whipping cream from the strawberry shortcake and decided to bake some! Mini scones = addictive! I could not stop at one!

I even tried my butter cake in mini slices once! Oh so cute!

April 25, 2012

Salt Roasted Chicken

This could be the easiest recipe ever. Just like the shortest sentence in the bible; Jesus wept. It is the shortest sentence; but it meant the most.

I did not quite believe the simplicity of this recipe when the little Teo Chew mentioned it in her blog. And from the first successful try onwards, this has been our go to recipe whenever we have guests or whenever we are just plain lazy for anything else.

Ingredients:

A fresh chicken

2 bulbs of garlic

1 tablespoon of salt (I reduced it to 3/4 or as much as you think you would like)

Directions:

Wash and dry the chicken. Try to get it as dry as possible for the best crispiness!

Salt the chicken, and then stuff single cloves of un-peeled garlic into the cavity. Seal it with a toothpick. And place the chicken breast side up into the oven. I placed it for 180 degrees and for approximately 4o minutes till golden brown.

Ready to serve.

The Little Teo Chew’s blog is a lot more detailed with directions on making a sauce for it if we want; again another brilliant recipe!

April 25, 2012

The Dream

Jerome and I had a little bedtime chat yesterday. Told him I had a chat with an ex-colleague who resigned to pursue her dreams; taking up a Patisserie course in the famous Le Cordon Bleu, London for 6 months. He held my hands and asked me if that is what I would love to do. I was not too sure if I would pursue a career in Patisserie; but what I do know is I do love the smell of cakes baking in the oven, the satisfaction of seeing my family members relish in the cakes that I baked.

We made it a life goal; to take a sabbatical when Sarah is older to travel to London together for 3 months to see the world, for me to take a short patisserie course and for him to take a break and to concentrate on his investments. As he drifted off to sleep; I looked out the window and realized that would be a beautiful dream that could turn into a reality.

Perhaps one day; we would move our One Fine Home to England for a short escapade from this world.

That would be a dream come true.

April 24, 2012

A strawberry dream.

I had a strawberry shortcake for my birthday, for my pre-wedding shoot, my wedding, my baby’s first month celebration and it was there when I just felt like having cake. There is something special about this cake; it makes me smile and believe that dreams do come true. I call it my strawberry dream; the strawberry shortcake. The best in my opinion; comes from Four Leaves Bakery. It is such a pretty cake.

I made it my goal to bake a successful strawberry shortcake this year. I googled for recipes and found many! I read through the steps of all of them and finally decided on the recipe for my maiden attempt. I could hardly hold my breath while waiting for the sponge cake to come out from the oven; praying hard that it will rise nicely and evenly and for it not to deflate!

The recipe called for 30-35 minutes of baking time; knowing my oven, I halved the time and the cake was ready by 15 minutes! You could imagine my excitement when the cake came out perfectly! I was not prepared for the cake to be a success at take one!

The obstacle I had was with the whipped cream. I read about adding gelatin to the whipped cream for a more stabilized whipped cream frosting; the recipe called for 1 teaspoon of gelatin with 4 teaspoon of cold water and to let it come to cool to room temperature. I took the opportunity to run to the supermarket to get strawberries; (yes I was unprepared). I did not pay too much attention to the gelatin; and it became a jelly like form! Despite my alarm bells ringing in my head, I added that to my whipped cream…

Alas; the gelatin was lumpy and the whipped cream was filled with lumpy gelatin. I had to make a second batch of it. The next issue; I feared over whipping of my cream. And kept stopping the mixer to check on the stiffness of the cream. In the end; before i got it to stiff peaks, the impatient me took it out and frosted the cake!!!

A giant mistake. The cream was too soft for frosting! Note to self; stiff peaks please. Would need to get clear vanilla extract too; the brown color of the extract created too much of a cream color to the frosting.

Despite all of these; I could not wait for Jerome to get back before cutting the cake for a taste! My very own strawberry shortcake… I loved every bit of it. Perhaps I was biased; but it was like a strawberry dream come true.

Do hope my next attempt will yield me a better frosted cake!!

April 21, 2012

Mornings are best with freshly baked scones.

It’s a rainy morning; and it feels warm and snuggly to be in bed. But what is a rainy morning without freshly baked scones for breakfast! It always makes my mind feel fresher and the day seem better.

Jerome makes a delicious latte. Warm scones with ice-cold latte; my cup of tea. : )

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April 20, 2012

Marshmallow Pillows

In my fairy tale story; pillows are made of marshmallows, and lollipops grew from trees.

Amongst my many childhood memories; I would fondly recall all the books I read that left my imagination running wild! Land filled with candies and streams of chocolate rivers from Charlie and the chocolate factory! Candy canes for fences, and pebbles made out of round colorful sweets. Ah the deliciousness. Imagine being able to scoop hot chocolate out from rivers and being able to pluck candies off flowers. Such sweet dreams.

Now I had these sweet pink and white fluffy pillows of marshmallows from Sarah’s party in a jar! And decided to do some chocolate pillows for desserts!

These were really delicious with just plain chocolate ganache; tasted richer than fondue as the chocolate is much thicker and richer! I topped it off with colorful sprinkles just for the fun of it! Turned out pretty well too! These will look great for any party!

April 20, 2012

Plain Vanilla Cupcakes

Cupcakes. Plain vanilla cupcakes.

Sounds boring you say?

These little cupcakes taste wonderful even on it’s own! The husband finished a dozen at one go with his cappuccino and could not stop. i have long heard of these Magnolia Bakery cupcakes; never tried them from the store but never expected the recipe to be so simple. This will be my favorite cupcake recipe for vanilla ones from now on!

I saw the recipe from The Little Teo Chew’s blog; I think this is my 5th try at her different recipes and many more bookmarked! I might be like Julie who learns from Julia Child’s recipes; that Jewel will learn from the Little Teo Chew.

Only problem i had was that the cupcakes seem to not be able to rise above the liner. Thus creating a flat surface cupcake. Will try it again with a second batch to see what the issue is.

Recipe from The Little Teo Chew
Adapted from Food Network

Yields 12 cupcakes

Ingredients:

85g self-raising flour*
* I did not have any, so I made my own using these estimates: 85g plain flour + 1 1/4tsp baking powder + 1/8 tsp salt
70g all-purpose plain flour
113g unsalted butter, softened
170g caster sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (or vanilla bean for even more intensity)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 170°C (350°F). Line muffin tins with cupcake papers.

In a small bowl, combine the flours. Set aside.

In a large bowl, on the medium speed of an electric mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the sugar gradually and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated but do not over beat. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the batter in the bowl to make sure the ingredients are well blended.

Carefully spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 2/3 full.

Bake for 20 to 25* minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.
* At the 20-minute mark, reduce heat to 160°C (325°F). The tops of the cupcakes should be lightly golden.

Cool the cupcakes in tins for 15 minutes. Remove from the tins and cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

April 19, 2012

Cupcake Toppers

Cupcake decorating taken to another level; adding cupcake toppers!

I have a mini party team – it started at my wedding, and then again at baby Sarah’s one month old celebration; an afternoon tea with Sarah. I call it the dream a cupcake mini team! Sarah (not my baby sarah but our dearest talented designer Sarah Ang) made some cupcake toppers for fun one time; so lovely and pretty! We ought to design our own cupcake toppers for any occasion. At times; I just want to bake some cupcakes and top it up with them just for the sake of photography. But that would also mean compromising on the waist line for I would have cupcakes for breakfast, lunch, tea or any random moments that I crave for one.